“Fatter.” It’s a harsh word. But it’s how you feel, isn’t it?

Bloated. Undesirable. Uncomfortable. Fat.

(I should know, I was there too once, but more on that later.)

Let’s be blunt here for a moment: The way your thighs rub together when you walk makes you feel like a self-conscious, angry human being. The way you can feel your clothes cutting into your stomach, hurts your heart as much as your mid-section. And the way you know you need to get a handle on it all, but haven’t been able to… well, handle it all, haunts you in the middle of the night, as you guilt-trip yourself through a mental promenade of every, single thing you ate, binged on or otherwise ingested that day… and how much of a f*ck up you are because of it.

This is not okay for you.

None of it.

In fact, I believe that just as your physical health is suffering, your emotional health is, too.

Because there’s a little something I know about us women – the ones with the big hearts and the far-too-generous tendency to say “yes” to everything that crosses our plates; the ones with the over-developed sense of ambition who are running themselves into the goddamn ground trying to get it all done, please everyone, and be “successful.”

You’re leaving yourself behind, chick.
And you’re leaving yourself behind hard.

Even though it might seem selfish. Even though it might seem like you already don’t have enough hours in the day. Even though it might seem stupid. Even though you might be rolling your eyes.

You don’t need another diet.

What you need is to stop tripping over yourself trying to make everyone else happy… and start tripping over yourself for YOU!

The reason why you’re struggling with food, why you’re struggling with your weight, and why you’re feeling like absolute shit about it all has NOTHING to do with a lack of discipline, a lack of knowledge (let’s be honest, you already know how to diet), or a lack of another taste-bud tingling head of broccoli in the supermarket *wink*.

It’s not about the food.

It’s not about the dieting.

It’s not about the fact you haven’t gotten your ass to the gym in months. (Years?)

It’s about something else.

Something else that’s affecting ALL of it. Something else  you haven’t been able to put your finger on, because you’ve been looking in all the wrong places. That’s because the place that’s causing the problem is the very place you can’t see.

The inside.

Tamsyn Hawkins, Weight Loss Coach - http://thealchemykitchen.com

Here at The Alchemy Kitchen, it’s about getting it right on the inside… so the outside can naturally follow suit.

I KNOW how this can sound at first. I know it sounds wishy-washy. I know it sounds like psychobabble. I know it sounds a bit woo woo feel-good happy horse shit.

I thought the same thing at first.

But when I found myself tipping the scales and seeing numbers I’d never dreamed of, I knew it wasn’t all Doritos and Merlot – It was because I wasn’t taking care of myself mentally.

At the time, I was busy getting bulldozed by an onslaught of really unfortunate circumstances that spun me into a tornado of depression, misery, loneliness, and self-contempt. From failed marriages to losing my best friend, Mandi, to cancer, I ran around and silenced my screams the only way I knew how – with food.

Or booze.

Or both.

Usually both.

It felt good in the moment. Food and drink was the one friend I still had; the one who hadn’t abandoned me. So I turned to her.

Soon, I was sleepwalking through every part of my life, except of my work. I was always dedicated to my work. (I suspect you are, too, right?) But my work couldn’t save me. Not this time.

In 2011, I stepped into a high-level corporate role alongside my existing freelance business. That’s when the stress and the running and the numbing-out of anything my body was trying to tell me finally caught up with me.

I was hospitalised.

Three times.

It was very, very bad.

I was very, very bad.

It all started with knife-like abdominal pain – pain so bad I would pass out. And to be clear: I’m not the type of woman who passes out.

I underwent every kind of testing under the sun and had such bad internal inflammation it looked like I was six months pregnant. I couldn’t even stand up straight.

It wasn’t until the final time, when I collapsed while in London, that the doctor finally discovered I had a near-fatal case of appendicitis. I was very lucky to still be breathing. Had it burst, I would have lost my life.

Those three occasions were a battle cry from my body: HELP ME!  My body was telling me in no uncertain terms that it would completely disable my ability to function, until I sat up and paid attention.

And wouldn’t you know? It took almost dying to finally make me do just that.

Fast forward through recovery and you see me:

1. Feeling like a major wanker.

2. Realising I needed to stop being such a shit to myself.

3. Planning to scale a mountain. Actually, make that three.

Okay, so maybe the planning didn’t happen until a bit later, but the bottom line is, I really needed to start focusing on me. This was clear.

Feeling fantastic in the reddest of red high heels

So I did what anyone would do when faced with a near-death experience. I cranked up some music, threw on a pair of my reddest red high heels, and booked a flight to New York.

Yes, that New York.

It was only two weeks post-op, but that trip ended up being pivotal. Pivotal as in Eat, Pray, Love pivotal… except that the medicine man in this case was ME.

After spending twenty years working as a top executive coach in the corporate world of HR and Development (my last role being with the UK’s largest restaurant companies, where my learning and development programs were national award winners), I realised I also needed a coach – but one of a whole new kind.

Her name was Susan. I went to her knowing that I needed to learn how to apply my own coaching knowledge to my health (something that felt alien to me after not having thought about it for so long). I also wanted to discuss ways in which I could make sure this mess I’d allowed myself to become would never ever happen again.

After a lot of work with Susan, one of the things I realised was that I needed to change my career path and my way of working – it was killing me. Literally.

Six months later, I had dropped 54 pounds. Fifty four. Five four. And I did it without having put myself on a diet once.

Instead, I applied to get a specialist certification in weight loss coaching. I was already a certified coach, but I wanted specific weight loss tools and a license to use them.

Those tools saved my life.

I don’t say that to be melodramatic, I say it because the life I was living before wasn’t a life. I was rushing through it with my eyes closed, hurrying to make the next deadline, eating and drinking when I didn’t want to think about deadlines, and waking up angry that I was on yet another deadline.

I felt like I couldn’t catch a break and my body lashed out. But I’m so glad it did – it was the wake-up call I needed to stop being a total asshat to myself.

There were three things that made all the difference for me during that time:

1. Maintaining a realistic sense of balance and not feeling guilty about it.

Because guess what? You shouldn’t say yes to things that don’t serve you or your health! (I’m lookin’ at you, deadlines!)

You shouldn’t be left ragged and depleted every minute of your day.

You shouldn’t feel guilty when you’re not working 100-hour weeks.

Learning to say “no” with love and respect is one of the best things I ever did for myself. Not to mention my ass.

2. Not giving a flying rat’s nest about the comments, the looks, the judgy attitudes or the friends who pressure you into being the old you. (“Come on, the old you would have had another glass! Come on!”)

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: People are never going to stop being pains in your ass, whether you’re a size zero or a size twenty. So FORGET THEM AND GET ON WITH IT!

Your life is not some runway spectacle and it’s certainly not a democracy for everyone else’s vote. It’s yours and in this life, you are the motherf*ucking Queen of England.

So live life the way you want. Even if that includes having two glasses of wine instead of the two bottles they’re expecting you to drink. They’ll get over it.

3. Planning – as in Martha Stewart level planning… but with way better fashion sense.

Big truth: You shouldn’t “just wing it” when it comes to taking care of yourself. You need to plan it out and you need to pay attention.

I used to tell myself all the time: “I’ll do that next week / month / year”, etc. but it always turned into never.

Don’t be a Never Girl. Make the hard decisions today. You can procrastinate about them all you want, but they are not serving you.

Hard is healthy. (That’s what he said!) Planning time to enjoy yourself, planning time to take a mental break, planning time to eat properly, planning time to sleep properly – it’s ALL part of it, girl, so get used to indulging not being an indulgence.

Let me tell you. If you can learn to fully appreciate these three things, and actually throw yourself into making them happen, you can do ANYTHING.

That’s where the mountain comes in. Or, if you want to be all proper about it… Mountains.

I never thought I could climb a mountain. Climbing mountains was for athletic people, crazy people. (Sometimes both.) Not for a women like me. That was until September 16th, 2014.

They were the highest three peaks in the UK – one in Scotland, one in England and one in Wales and we were given 24 hours. It was a race to arrive at each mountain, climb it, then climb back down. (Really.)

I would have never have done this in a million years before my health scare.

Not in a MILLION years.

But the new Tamsyn? She was game. (Or at least willing to try.)

I wanted to do this for a few reasons. First: to challenge myself and make my journey even more real and rewarding than ever. But also for something else that was really important… Mandi.

My best friend Mandi had recently, tragically and heart-fucking-breakingly passed from the shitstorm that is breast cancer. With every fibre of my being and ever cell in my legs, brain, heart and body, I was doing this for her.

I had to stay alive for both of us but more importantly, I had to FEEL alive for both of us. There was so much she got cheated out of doing, being, seeing and being.

So, I did it. We did it.

Ten of us bounced around this grubby little minibus for four hours, completely sweaty and exhausted and breathless in between peaks, before racing to the top of another and back down again. In doing so, we raised nearly £18,000 for charity.

It was very emotional, but one of the most important moments of my life.

Even more than New York (and even though I didn’t get to wear my red heels this time.)

Tamsyn Hawkins, Weight Loss Coach - http://thealchemykitchen.com

And now, there’s the present me. The one here, talking to you right now. The one who’s taken this entire, harrowing experience and turned it into something GREAT.

That great is called The Alchemy Kitchen.

Fast-forward to present day and I now hold three coaching certifications – Master Coach,  certified Weight Loss coach, and Visual Coach. I’m also a Master practitioner of NLP. I’ve coached over 100 clients and have used weight loss coaching tools myself to regain my health and permanently kick that 54 pounds to the curb.

Sayonara, sucker.

Key to the way I work is blending weight loss coaching with visual coaching for a hell of a powerful hybrid model that helps you see a whole new reality… literally. I draw, use maps and work with big visuals and graphic images (even online) to assist deep-thinking in a whole new way.

You talk and I write what you’re saying. Then we use your words as a mirror to help you see what’s really going on with your head, your heart and your ass. It’s nothing like you’ve ever done before and what comes out the other side is sometimes just as surprising.

It’s about connecting the real dots in the right ways and using them to make a plan. (Remember how I talked about the importance of planning out your indulgences? Well this is a great example.)

At the end of the day, it’s not about the extra pounds. It’s not about the burger. It’s not about the cheese. It’s not about the triple chocolate fudge. It’s not about any of that.

It’s about you.

And about how it feels to be living in your body.

Do you feel good in there?
Do you feel satisfied with the way it’s all turning out?

Or could being alive feel better?

Could you hold your head a little higher? Could you feel a little more proud? Could you feel a little lighter… physically, mentally, and emotionally?

If you’re stuck in neutral, I am here for you.

It’s why I was plopped down in the UK, on this gorgeous green (sometimes brown) earth, with all of these gorgeous people and gorgeous oxygen begging me to breathe.

All that’s left?

Is for you to take a time out from the overwhelm, from the despair, solitude, sorrow and frustration, from the binges…

…and join me.